June 11, 323: Alexander the Great passed away. At the time, the south of Greece had a very prosperous wine industry. More specifically, by that time, Greek winemaking and wine trade had already shifted their focus to a specific region: the expensive and scarce wines produced on the tiny Aegean islands could hardly supply Alexander the Great’s campaigns and armies, let alone the demand from the markets that had just begun to open. As a result, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Rhodes, and Kos all saw an increase in the amount of wine being produced.
June 11, 1665: On this day Sir Kenelm Digby passed away. Sir Digby was a diplomat and privateer who is credited with inventing the wine bottle shape we still use today.
June 11, 1774: On this day, George Suttor was born. Suttor was an Anglo-Scottish farmer and early settler in Australia, renowned for having started a considerable Australian family and for having backed Captain Bligh after the 1808 Rebellion in Sydney, New South Wales. On November 5, 1800, Suttor arrived in Sydney. Despite the delays, Suttor was still able to land some of his vines and trees alive. As soon as he was granted a land grant, he relocated to Chelsea Farm in the Baulkham Hills. In a few years, he had established himself successfully and was shipping oranges and lemons to Sydney for fair prices. Suttor backed the ousted governor William Bligh wholeheartedly during the 1808 uprising. Suttor’s signature was the first one on an address given to Colonel Paterson promising to deliver him when he arrived. Suttor once more acquired land, and in 1822 he relocated to the freshly inhabited areas on the Bathurst plains, which were located beyond the Blue Mountains. At the confluence of Winburndale and Clear Creeks, he founded the 130 hectares (320 acres)-large “Brucedale Station,” which proved to be a prosperous landholding that was later increased to 4,055 hectares (10,020 acres). Suttor and his family, especially his son William, became friends with the aborigines during a period of intense conflict with the Wiradjuri nation of Indigenous Australians who opposed the seizing of their lands. When the Wiradjuri warrior leader Windradyne passed away, he was buried at Brucedale since they were known to have been close to him.
June 11, 1928: On this day, Robert Ian Oatley was born in Australia. Best known as a businessman and yachtsman, Oatley was also the founder of the Rosemount winery and was its owner until its sale in a merger in 2001. He had begun a number of other vineyards prior to this as well. He passed away on January 10, 2016.
June 11, 1956: Joe Montana, a Hall of Fame American football quarterback, was born on this day. Montana’s winemaking journey began in the late 1990s when he teamed up with former Beringer winemaker and friend Ed Sbragia (one of California’s oldest and most famous wineries). His winemaking operation was successful for a while and is still doing well, but in 2012, he listed his enormous wine-country estate for $35 million. He continues to make wine with Sbragia under the label “Montagia,” a combination of their two names.
June 11, 2022: National Rosé Day. The second Saturday each June is seen by most as National Rosé Day, the perfect opportunity to share summer’s most fitting wine.
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